This trilogy is a tricky read. Most characters just suffer through horrible things.
Every day there is a new post decrying Apple's tasteless use of skeuomorphism (you know, making calculator programs look like calculators and note-taking apps look like notepads?).
I totally agree that skeuomorphic apps are ugly and stupid. I said that in 2-thousand-freaking-four. But just looking at the latest abomination (it seems to be a sound recorder that looks like a ree-to-reel, of all things) and sneering is worse, because that means you don't have any ideas of where design comes from, and I say this being a person with as much taste as a walrus.
Design comes from people. There is a grander design behind that specific design, which you could call a guideline, or a philosophy, or in some cases a zeitgeist. For 50 years, there has existed a consensus about cleanliness of design being a good thing. It started in some specific niches while others went in other directions (car fins!) and later each area of design has moved, like a pendulum, towards cleanliness or "specialness".
Once you go "clean", and everyone goes "clean" there is very little you can do to make your product distinctive, and a tension is created to make it less clean and more "special".
Google's entry page used to be absolutely clean. A place to enter text, and two buttons. Now it has a menu with 11+ items, 3 buttons, and an icon. Apple's OS9 was ascetic, and now OSX is a sea of bouncy colorful things shouting at you.
The skeuomorphism and other indications of overdesign, of complication, in apple's apps is not unintentional, it's an intentional attempt at making the applications special, appealing, and distinctive. It is ugly and awful, but it is so intentionally, because the very concepts of ugliness and awfulness are just a vague consensus among the users, and Apple surely felt confidence that users, accostumed to Apple's role as kings of taste, would change their taste to fit. And as far as I can see that is exactly what has happened.
Users are not the ones complaining about Apple's design style, other designers are complaining. That signals, to me, a disconnect between the taste of designers and the taste of users. And honestly, the taste of designers is only of vague academic interest to companies trying to sell product.
Apple's hardware stays minimalistic because they have successfully branded it. If you see a squarish slab of black glass with a button, you think iPad or iPhone depending on size, not "generic minimalistic touch device". On software, that did not work. There was nothing interesting or innovative, or distinctive in minimalistic design for applications.
So they started with colorful gumdrops, moved onto brushed metal, and then into fake stitched leather, because they are trying to find something that can be as successfully and powerfully branded as "silvery slim wedge with black keys" is now.
Designers apparently seem to believe there is certain specific "cleanliness" that is the hallmark of "good" design, and that ripped paper and other skeuomorphic affectations are signs of bad taste. That is silly and ahistoric. Cleanliness is just a fashion, reel-to-reel digital recorders are an attempt at creating a taste. It's ambitious, and respectable.
On the other hand, it is ugly as hell.
It starts with these two aliens:
And a lawyer called Nick Carter, who is not this Nick Carter:
If I were to describe the plot, it would make me sound insane, which is a good thing. So, I will just let the book trailer do the work:
Have you ever read Douglas Adams and wished the plot started making some sense? Have you ever read Terry Pratchett and wished there was more than one excruciatingly stretched joke per book? 1
Well, if you have, I recommend you give Year Zero a try. It's hilarious, it has a plot of sorts, and has at least three different jokes in it. A working knowledge of lame 80s (and 70s) music helps but is not horribly necessary.
So, I give this five stars 2 and recommend it to every one.
Sorry, spanish only.
No tengo muchos amigos. Tengo tres o cuatro, ponéle. Seguro no más de 10. Tengo muchos conocidos, tengo mucha gente que me cae bien, habrá alguno que le caigo bien, habrá otros que me conocen. He tenido amigos que nunca ví, tengo amigos que nunca veo, tengo amigos que nunca voy a ver porque tuvieron la mala idea de morirse antes que los vea.
Tengo amigos que quiero mucho, tengo amigos que me cagan de risa, tengo amigos y tengo amigas, tengo alguna hermana postiza que la quiero como si fuera mi hígado, tengo mi esposa que es más amiga, tengo amigos que quisiera ver más.
Hay amigos que no me conocen, pero si alguien te regala un libro que te cambia la vida, o una canción que te levanta a la mañana, o un programa de radio que te hace olvidar todas las noches la bosta que fué el día, esos son amigos míos, aunque yo no sea amigo suyo.
Hay gente que no conozco que me ha agradecido alguna cosa que hice y supongo que yo seré amigo suyo aunque no sean amigos míos. A ellos les digo que son amigos míos también.
No tengo amigos de la infancia, no tengo amigos de la adolescencia, tengo algún amigo de mis veintipico, tengo más de mis treintas, todavía no tengo uno de los cuarentaypico. Tengo amigos en otros países, tengo amigos acá al lado. Tengo pocos pero son variados. Tengo pocos pero son los mejores.
Y cuando me muera, si me hacen la gauchada de no morirse antes ellos, ojalá tenga una corona que diga: Tus Amigos. Y se la destapen y se la tomen, los putos.
Since I decided to stop being a troll (I am trying!) I noticed that people take what I write waaaaay too seriously. This post is a gentle reminder that I have posted more about silly stuff than about serious stuff. MUCH more.
So, if you ever find yourself thinking "Hey, Roberto seems to be making an interesting point", first think about the twin bananas. If what I wrote still looks interesting, proceed.